Vegan Dining at Tapas y Tintos: Popeye and Olive's Chickpeas and Creamy-Crunchy Paella
The menu at Tapas y Tintos in midtown Miami has a lot of promising almost-vegan items on it. There's the vete a freir esparragos: deep-fried asparagus -- with Serrano ham. Berenjenazo: charbroiled eggplant -- topped with cheese. And empedrat: white beans, fresh tomatoes, garlic, onions -- and codfish. With some omissions, all of these items can be made vegan style. But there are a few dishes that are purely plant-based by accident.
Among them is the Popeye y Olivia ($8.25), which consists of chickpeas and spinach in a white wine, garlic, and olive oil sauce. The garbanzos struck a perfect balance between firm and soft, and the spinach was flavorful, but what really made the dish was the garlic and white wine sauce. This stuff was so addictive I had to ask Nick, our kind server, to remove it from the table before I devoured the whole thing and spoiled my appetite for the main course.
For another tapas, we had the verduras ($9.75): grilled zucchini, eggplant, tomato, onion, garlic, red pepper, and asparagus.
|These vegan tapas are part of the standard menu at Tapas y Tintos.|
Then came the entrée: a vegetable paella for two (about $30), which had been baking for 40 minutes from the time we arrived. It's not on the regular menu but can be made upon request.
|The vegetable paella for two at Tapas y Tintos.|
Other accidentally vegan options at this Spanish eatery include gazpacho soup and pimientos: roasted red and green pepper in sea salt and olive oil.
For now, there aren't any vegan desserts on the menu, but we couldn't have swallowed another bite even if there had been.
The verdict: Tapas y Tintos is an excellent choice for a scrumptious, nutrient-rich meal with vegan and nonvegan mixed company. Gobble up some succulent vegetable dishes and then learn some new dance moves during the Sunday-night salsa lessons, accompanied by sultry singer Melina Almodovar.
Do you have a restaurant you'd like to see rise to the vegan challenge? Send your suggestions to the Beet Reporter.
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